Pablo Ibanez Colomo

Email: P.Ibanez-Colomo@lse.ac.uk
Administrative support: Dianne Delvaille
Room: New Academic Building 5.16
Tel.  020-7955-7779

Pablo Ibáñez Colomo is Associate Professor of Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received a Ph.D. from the European University Institute in June 2010 (Jacques Lassier Prize). Before joining the EUI as a Researcher in 2007, he taught for three years at the Law Department of the College of Europe (Bruges), where he also took an LL.M. in 2004. In 2008, Pablo spent six months as a TTLF fellow at Stanford Law School. He has been invited as a guest lecturer at several institutions.

 
Research Interests

Pablo's work focuses on competition law and economic regulation (in particular, communications regulation), and, more generally, he has an interest in the economic analysis of law. His doctoral dissertation examined how competition law, communications regulation and national media regimes overlap and influence one another. In the field of competition law, he has written on the modernisation of Article 102, on the judicial review of administrative decisions, on its interface with intellectual property and on State aid. Future projects will deal with the economic analysis of media regulation.

 
External Activities
  • Visiting Lecturer, College of Europe (Bruges) - Introductory course for lawyers (since 2007)

  • ‘Visiting Lecturer, Curso de Derecho de la competencia europeo y español (Madrid)’

   
Books  

European Communications Law and Technological Convergence. Deregulation, Re-regulation and Regulatory Convergence in Television and Telecommunications. (Wolters Kluwer, 2011)

This book presents a critical examination of the European regulatory reaction to technological convergence, tracing the explicit and implicit mechanisms through which emerging concerns are incorporated into regulation. It seeks to identify the patterns that underlie these responses to determine the extent to which the issues at stake, and the implications of intervention, are fully understood and considered by authorities. The focus of the analysis is placed on ‘conflict points’ – areas of overlap between regimes – the study of which has been largely neglected. The PhD thesis on which this monograph is based was awarded the 2011 Jacques Lassier Prize.

Manual de Derecho de la Competencia (with L. Ortiz Blanco, Jeronimo Maillo Gonzalez-Orus and Alfonso Lamadrid de Pablo), Tecnos, 2008

 
Selected articles
and chapters in books
 

'The Commission Investigation into Pay TV Services: Open Questions'
Journal of European Competition Law and Practice (2014), 5(8) 531-541

In January 2014, the Commission launched an investigation into pay TV services in the context of a review of EU copyright rules and following the ruling in Murphy, where the ECJ held that exclusive territorial licensing agreements may be restrictive by object. Vice-President Almunia's statement expresses concerns with restraints limiting the passive sales of pay TV services and with the ‘portability’ of subscriptions across borders. The Commission envisions a form of cross-border competition between pay TV operators that is not easy to reconcile with the observable industry dynamics. It is not clear to what extent the suggested approach considers the ‘economic and legal context’ in which agreements between studios and broadcasters are concluded.

‘Exclusionary Discrimination under Article 102 TFEU’ Common Market Law Review (2014), 51(1) 141-163

The fact that an integrated dominant firm deals on more favourable conditions with its affiliated divisions may be abusive within the meaning of Article 102 TFEU. It is not clear when and why this is the case. It has sometimes been suggested that, as a rule, dominant firms are not entitled to favour their own activities over those of rivals. This piece shows that there is no such thing as a non-discrimination rule applying across the board, which, if anything, would run counter to the logic and purpose of competition law. A case-by-case assessment is thus justified. There are compelling reasons to expand to exclusionary discrimination the principles set out in the Guidance Paper 2008 for the assessment of refusals to deal and "margin squeeze" abuses.

‘State Aid Litigation before EU Courts (2004-2012): A Statistical Overview’ Journal of European Competition Law and Practice (2013), 4(6) 469-484

This article considers annulment actions and appeals brought by Member States, recipients, and sub-national entities since 2004. Where the Member States took part in the proceedings, Commission decisions were annulled more frequently by the General Court. Annulments were more likely where the ‘private investor test’ was raised as a ground. On appeal, selectivity-related issues are prominent; first instance judgments were rarely set aside.

'Three Shifts in EU Competition Policy: Towards Standards, Decentralization, Settlements' Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law (2013), 20(3), 363-385.

EU competition policy has undergone fundamental transformations over the past 20 years. The changes observed are substantive, procedural and institutional in nature. Two decades ago, EU competition policy was enforced centrally by the Commission in a way that is probably best described as traditional administrative law-making. Policy was formulated by means of formal decisions adopted in individual cases and by legislative instruments regulating firm behaviour in detail. Following the adoption of Regulation 1/2003, and as a result of the use of economic analysis, the enforcement landscape is more diverse and decentralized. National competition authorities have emerged as key players in the field (a trend that is also observed in other fields of EU economic regulation, including energy and electronic communications). Individual decisions are now crucially complemented by soft law instruments, the use of which started in the 1990s and which now permeate the whole discipline, and by negotiated procedures.

'The Law on Abuses of Dominance and the System of Judicial Remedies',  Yearbook of European Law (2013) pp.389-431

This article examines the extent to which the imperfect nature of the EU system of judicial remedies can explain the peculiar evolution of the EU law on abuses of dominance. A comprehensive analysis of competition law judgments since the 1960s suggests that the procedural avenue through which a case reaches the General Court and the European Court of Justice has a significant impact on the outcome of individual cases and, over time, on the very substance of Treaty provisions. It is submitted that some of the distinct features of the case law on Article 102 TFEU – lack of consistency, legal uncertainty, judicial restraint – are the consequence of the fact that the scope of the notion of abuse has been defined in the context of annulment actions against Commission decisions, as opposed to preliminary references submitted by national courts in accordance with Article 267 TFEU. This conclusion is tested against the evolution of Article 101 TFEU and Article 2 of the successive Merger Regulations.

'Market failures, transaction costs and article 101(1) TFEU case law' European Law Review 2012, 37(5), 541-562.

EU competition law is increasingly informed by economic analysis. However, the tools of this discipline are rarely ever used systematically for positive purposes. This article gives a unifying picture of art.101(1) TFEU judgments based on familiar economic concepts (market failures and transaction costs). It is submitted that a formalisation of case law based on these concepts has greater explanatory power than the prevailing approaches currently found in textbooks and policy instruments. The article shows, first, that the availability of an efficiency explanation for an agreement is the default starting point followed by EU courts when drawing the line between restrictions of competition by object and by effect. Secondly, it explores how market failures and transaction costs influence the analysis of restrictive effects on competition under art.101(1) TFEU . These insights are equally useful to define the scope of art.101(3) TFEU and the relevance of non-economic considerations.

‘De minimis rule in competition law: An overview of EU and national case law’ (with Inge Govaere), e-Competitions Special Issue, April 2012

'Rules of purely sporting interest and EU competition law: why the Wouters exception is not necessary'  Competition Law International 2012, 8(1), 54-58

Questions the necessity of the approach adopted by the European Court of Justice ruling in Wouters v Algemene Raad van de Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten (C-309/99) in formulating an activity-specific exception to justify sporting rules and arrangements entered into by sports governing bodies that would otherwise have been found to restrict competition by analysing the economics of sporting activities and competition rules. Considers whether it is possible to distinguish between economic and non-economic rules in a sports context.

'On the application of competition law as regulation: elements for a theory', in Piet Eeckhout and Takis Tridimas (eds.), Yearbook of European Law 2010  pp. 261-306

'Judicial review in Article 102'  (with Jean-Yves Art)  in Federico Etro and Ioannis Kokkoris (eds.), Competition Law and the Enforcement of Article 102 (December 2010)

'The Future of Communications Regulation after Ofcom's Pay-TV consultation', Utilities Law Review  2010, 18(3), 99-107.

Examines the implications of Ofcom's decision to allow premium sports channels operated by BSkyB the same access obligations applied to the "local loop" owned by BT. Examines when an ex ante intervention is justified in the communications markets, focusing on the rationale behind the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services and the unintended effects of ex ante intervention. Considers the legal basis for Ofcom's intervention under the Communications Act 2003 s.316 and its approach to assessing anti-competitive conduct. Reviews the definition of "fair and effective" competition.

'Evolving Priorities and Rising standards: Spanish Law on Abuses of Market Power in the Light of the 2008 Guidance Paper' (with Luis Ortiz Blanco), in Lorenzo Pace (ed.), European Competition Law: The Impact Of The Commission’s Guidance On Article 102, Edward Elgar, 2011

'Article 82 EC as a “built-in” remedy in the system of Intellectual Property: the example of supplementary protection for pharmaceuticals in Italy', in Intellectual Property, Market Power and the Public Interest (2008), Peter Lang, pp. 119-142

'The most appropriate tool for a better targeted State aid policy' (co-author), in Economic Analysis of State Aid Rules - Contributions and Limits (2007), Lexxion, pp. 29-67

'Selectivity, Economic Advantage, Distortion of Competition and Effect on Trade' (co-author), in Economic Analysis of State Aid Rules - Contributions and Limits (2007), Lexxion, pp. 119-155

'Annotation on Case C-171/05 P, Laurent Piau, (with Denis Waelbroeck)Common Market Law Review (2006), vol. 43, n. 6, pp. 1743-1756

'Recent Developments on the Invocability of WTO Law in the EC: A Wave of Mutilation', European Foreign Affairs Review (2006), vol. 11, n.1, pp. 63-86

'The Revival of Antitrust Law in Argentina: Policy or Politics?', European Competition Law Review (2006) vol. 27, n.6, pp. 317-323